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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BAD LUCK BY A LADDER

NEVER WALK UNDER A LADDER.

Submitter comment: LONG AGO PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT GODS WENT UP TO THE SKY ON LADDERS,
AND WALKING UNDERNEATH WOULD CERTAINLY BRING PUNISHMENT.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.13
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.21

Date learned: 11-05-1973

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MYTH

THE INDIAN GENERALLY IS VERY RELIGIOUS, AND BELIEVES IN TWO GODS.
ONE IS THE GOOD GOD AND THE OTHER IS THE BAD GOD.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

James Callow Keyword(s): POLYTHEISM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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MYTH

MEDICINE MEANS RELIGIOUS MYSTERY TO THE INDIAN. GOOD MEDICINE IS
SOMETHING PLEASING TO THE GOOD GOD. BAD MEDICINE IS THE PRESENCE OF
THE BAD GOD.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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ARIZONA DIVINE HABITATION

NOT FAR FROM THE KOSKI FAMILY RANCH NEAR SEDONA, ARIZONA, IS
CAPITOL BUTTE. WHEN CLOUDS FORM OVER THE BUTTE, THE GODS ARE
RESIDING THERE.

Submitter comment: INDIRECTLY FROM HOPI INDIANS

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods

Date learned: 08-00-1964

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RUSSIAN PROVERB

CUPID IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SHOOT ARROWS THROUGH TWO HEARTS
AT THE SAME TIME.

Where learned: RUSSIA

Keyword(s): NUMBERS ; SUPERNATURAL

James Callow Keyword(s): OBSERVATION

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Gods
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

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ANGEL BELIEF

LIGHTNING IS THE RESULT OF THE CLASHING OF THE SWORDS OF THE GODS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Sign or prediction through Natural atmospheric phenomenon

Date learned: 04-01-1968

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PATIENCE

PATIENCE IS THE QUALITY OF THE GODS

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): DEFINITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 03-09-1968

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JAPANESE & NUMBER 8

THE NUMBER 8 IS HONORED BY JAPANESE.
JAPAN IS CALLED "EIGHT LARGE ISLANDS." BUDDHIST
DEITIES ARE REPRESENTED ON A LOTUS FLOWER OF
EIGHT PEDALS. THE 88TH BIRTHDAY IS A VERY
GRAND ONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): NUMBERS

Subject headings: 686 Eighths / Eight
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary
BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.88
SPEECH -- Place

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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CUSTOM: JAPAN NEW YEAR'S

"OMOCHI" (RICE DOUGH) POUNDING IS STILL AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEW
YEAR'S CELEBRATION. IT IS THE MAKING OF THE OLDEST FOOD OF JAPAN
AND IN THE COUNTRY THE POUNDING IS DONE BY THE FEET OF SERVANTS
WHO SING THE FOLLOWING TRADITIONAL SONG AS THEY WORK:


"THE MOUSE IN THE HOUSE OF PLENTY"
WE ARE THE MESSENGERS OF THE GOOD-LUCK GOD,
THE MERRY MESSENGERS.
WE'RE A HUNDRED YEARS OLD, YET NEVER HAVE HEARD
THE FEARFUL CRY OF CAT;
FOR WE'RE THE MESSENGERS OF THE GOOD-LUCK GOD,
THE MERRY MESSENGERS.

Submitter comment:

WHEN IN JAPAN, INFORMANT USED TO WATCH "OMOCHI" POUNDING AT HER
FATHER'S ANCESTRAL HOME.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Work
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F690 F690.101
Food Drink -- Typical menus for the various meals For meal hours, see F574.84. Special or festive meals
Food Drink -- Manner of preparation
BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 08-01-1964

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SUPERSTITION

CUTTING NAILS ON SUNDAY RESULTS IN BAD LUCK.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT VIEWS CUTTING THE NAILS AS A WAY TO WARD OFF SPIRITS,
PRIMARILY EVIL SPIRITS. CUTTING THE NAILS ON SUNDAY, THE DAY
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, IS TO WARD OFF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; LUNCHROOM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 02-14-1979

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SUPERSTITION

KNOCKING ON WOOD RESULTS IN GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: WOOD IS THOUGHT TO BE A GOD. AND TO KNOCK ON THE GOD IS TO RENDER HIS
FAVOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CLASSROOM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Good luck

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD, MY FATHER USED TO TELL ME THAT I SHOULD
ALWAYS BE HONEST, DO GOOD THINGS, AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE. HE
SAID THAT GOD KNEW EVERYTHING WE DID. HE SAID THERE WAS A LITTLE
ANGEL SITTING ON EACH OF OUR SHOULDERS AND THAT EVERY TIME WE DID
SOMETHING GOOD, THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT SHOULDER WOULD WRITE IT
DOWN. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE DID SOMETHING BAD, THE ANGEL ON THE
LEFT SHOULDER WOULD RECORD IT. HE SAID THAT WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
CAME, GOD WOULD CHECK TO SEE WHICH LIST WAS LONGER. IT WASN'T
ENOUGH TO JUST TRY NOT TO BE BAD BECAUSE THE ANGEL ON THE RIGHT
SHOULDER ONLY WROTE DOWN GOOD DEEDS--NOT NO DEEDS AT ALL.

Submitter comment: MY FATHER WAS RAISED IN LEBANON. HE CAME TO THE UNITED STATES
IN 1929 WHEN HE WAS 20 YEARS OLD AND LIVED HERE UNTIL HIS DEATH
IN 1982.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

James Callow Keyword(s): LEFT ; RIGHT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Angel
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of quantity or weight

Date learned: 00001950S

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WHEN I WAS A CHILD, WE WERE TOLD THAT IF WE DROPPED A PIECE OF
BREAD OR OTHER SOLID-TYPE FOOD, WE SHOULD PICK IT UP QUICKLY,
KISS IT, AND PUT IT TO OUR FOREHEADS AND GOD WOULD BLESS IT AND MAKE
IT CLEAN FOR US TO EAT. (THIS WAS ONLY TRUE IN OUR OWN HOUSE.)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Forehead
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001950S

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WHEN A FEMALE IS IN HER CYCLE, SHE SHOULDN'T TOUCH
ANY PLANT OR CROPS BECAUSE IF SHE DOES THEN THEY WILL
DIE. THE REASON FOR THIS IS BECAUSE GOD CURSED WOMEN WITH
THIS CURSE BECAUSE EVE NED AND SO THE CURSE IS SIN
SINFUL AND CAN KILL LIVING PLANTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): MENSTRUATION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Creation and Order of Human Life
BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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WHEN IT RAINS WE KNOW THAT ANGELS ARE CRYING FOR US.
WHEN THE RAIN STOPS AND A RAINBOW APPEARS THEN WE KNOW
THAT GOD HAS FORGIVEN US FOR OUR SINS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew

Date learned: 03-00-1983

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IF A LULL OCCURS IN A CONVERSATION AT TEN OF OR TEN AFTER THE
HOUR, GOD IS GIVING A WARNING THAT THE DEVIL IS LISTENING.

Submitter comment: I FIRST HEARD OF THIS WHEN THE INFORMANT SAID "TEN OF, TEN
AFTER" WHEN A LULL OCCURED IN A PHONE CONVERSATION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 First / Once / One / Newness
Favorites
BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 11-00-1985

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AMONG THE IBO TRIBE IN NIGERIA, EACH MAN HAS HIS OWN
PERSONAL GOD, OR CHI. IT IS BELIEVED THAT A MAN'S WORTH IS
EQUIVALENT ONLY TO THE VALUE OF HIS CHI. IT IS ALSO
BELIEVED THAT THE MAN'S DESTINY IS CONTROLLED BY HIS CHI;
IF HE CANNOT MAKE IT FAR IN LIFE, HIS CHI SIMPLY DOESN'T
WANT HIM TO.

Submitter comment: THIS CORRESPONDS TO THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF THAT ANY ATTEMPT
BY ONE TO GO BEYOND THEIR POTENTIAL IS IN VAIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods

Date learned: 11-13-1987

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THUNDER IS NOTHING BUT GOD RE-ARRANGING HIS FURNITURE.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS TOLD TO THE INFORMANT BY HER MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS
YOUNGER SO THAT SHE WOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF THE THUNDER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder

Date learned: 00-00-1972 ; 10-00-1987

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ALWAYS SIT DOWN WHEN IT IS THUNDERING AND LIGHTENING BECAUSE
GOD IS CLEANING UP HIS HOUSE.

Submitter comment: VERY SUPERSTITIOUS

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder

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IN ABOUT THE 13TH CENTURY THERE WAS A DYBUUK MADE OUT OF CLAY
AND WOOD IN A JEWISH VILLAGE. THE DYBUUK WAS MADE IN THE
IMAGE OF A MAN. THERE WERE PEOPLE COMING TO HARM THE JEWS SO
A RABBI BREATHED LIFE INTO THE DUBUUK {DYBBUK?} AND PUT THE
NAME OF GOD ON HIS TONGUE AND HE SAVED THE VILLAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): STATUE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Gods
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
BELIEF -- Gods
BELIEF -- Magic of Speech, Sign, Color
SPEECH -- Proper Name

Date learned: 06-00-1987

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